Ma-re is a certified K-drama and K-pop enthusiast. She always likes to discover something new about the wide world of Korean entertainment.
20 Dramas For Your Binge-Watching
In South Korea, dramas are not just based on the script written by scriptwriters. Some are inspired from popular online comics called "webtoon". Live action adaptations are now popular, and others have become really successful. Can you challenge yourself to watch all of these? To find out what to watch, here's a list of highly-recommended webtoon-based Korean dramas for you to watch.
1. Love Alarm
A highly anticipated 2019 K-drama is now going to take place on the small screen! "Love Alarm" is a story from a webtoon of the same name by Chon Kye-young. It is set to air on tvN for 8 episodes, and it will be Netflix's first Korean original series. The main concept of the story is about an app called "Joalarm" which rings an alarm when someone who likes you is within 10 meters. A high school student downloaded the app and her high school life became a lot more fun and exciting as the alarm rings. Who is her secret admirer? Who is the guy who likes her? Let's find it out by watching the series!
- Kim So-hyun as Kim Jo-jo
- Jung Ga-ram as Lee Hee-young
- Song Kang as Hwang Sun-oh
2. Touch Your Heart
If it's hard for you to get over Grim Reaper and Sunny from Goblin, this drama is the answer. Let's watch them again in this 2019 new Korean drama, Touch Your Heart, which is a story originally posted on Kakao by Yegeo. It is about a pretty actress with a bad acting performance, who has no choice but to work as a secretary in a law firm where she works for an arrogant attorney whose cold attitude gets on her nerves. A good drama to kill some time while chilling out, this might not be as good as Goblin, but it wasn't bad at all.
- Yoo In-na as Oh Jin-shim / Oh Yoon-seo
- Lee Dong-wook as Kwon Jung-rok
- Lee Sang-woo as Kim Se-won
- Son Sung-yoon as Yoo Yeo-reum
Looking for a new serious drama to watch? You should consider this 2019 series, "Item", which is based on Kim Jung-seok and Min Hyung's webtoon. It is an exciting cat-and-mouse chase between the villains and the heroes who are working hard to solve the mystery cases that happened in their setting. There's this handsome prosecutor and the pretty profiler with super human ability, but romance is a bit far from them because the focus is on their teamwork. It runs for 32 episodes with more than half an hour each episode, and as it reaches the end, many fans are hoping for a season 2.
- Ju Ji-hoon as Kang Gon/Kim Sung-kyu
- Jin Se-yeon as Shin So-young
- Kim Kang-woo as Jo Se-hwang
- Kim Yoo-ri as Han Yoo-na
4. My ID is Gangnam Beauty
The drama gets the title from Gi Maeng-gi's work of art published in 2016 by Naver webtoon. It caught attraction for its positive message about finding true happiness in life, and being beautiful inside and out brings peace and love to one's personality. The perfect character portrayal is also another factor to its popularity, since the main character was brought to life by the actor in an amazing way. She expressed the feelings of being insecure and shy in a way that we can really feel her. The drama also has became famous not only in South Korea but also in other countries.
- Im Soo-hyang as Kang Mi-rae
- Cha Eun-woo as Do Kyung-seok
- Jo Woo-ri as Hyun Soo-a
- Kwak Dong-yeon as Yeon Woo-young
5. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim
One of the most successful and best hit drama of 2018 was based on Jung Kyung-yoon's Kakao comic, "Why Secretary Kim". Featuring the lovable little rom-com between an egotistic man and his secretary who patiently worked for 9 years in the company. One day, she suddenly retired despite being smart and capable, and the big trouble sparked between her and the boss. Though on the honest side, the story is already a cliche, but the acting and performance made a big difference. So get ready for some ultimate cheesy and bubbly moments between the couple and brace yourselves with some passionate romance between these two professional characters.
- Park Seo-joon as Lee Young-joon / Lee Sung-hyun
- Park Min-young as Kim Mi-so
6. Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter
Originally entitled in Naver as "Tale of Gyeryong Fairy" by Dol Bae, this adaptation is a fantastic fairy tale about a 699-year-old fairy and her life in the modern era where she works as a barista. He encountered two men who she thinks as his possible husband in the past. It is not your usual K-drama because it showcases fantasy like you've never seen before. There are CGIs for some characters where audiences think it is not quite bad, and is already good to make it charming in the eyes.
- Moon Chae-won as Sun Ok-nam
- Yoon Hyun-min as Jung Yi-hyun / Immortal Izy / Deer
- Seo Ji-hoon as Kim Geum / Immortal Daube / Bausae the woodcutter
- Jeon Soo-jin as Lee Ham-sook
- Kang Mi-na as Jeom Soon-yi
7. Clean With Passion For Now
Popular Kakao webtoon "Clean With Passion for Now" by Aengo is now adopted into live action. Although it didn't achieved very high ratings, the viewers enjoyed it because it started off with a great vibe - it begins with a usually nice story line and the actors were really good. The two leads proved that there's no age gap in love. When you love someone so much, you are willing to be patient for that person's love in return. It is also praised for being funny at first, until it slowly shifted into passionate romance between the two leads. It also emphasizes the issue of being an OCD, where a person becomes too obsessive about cleanliness.
- Kim Yoo-jung as Gil Oh-sol
- Yoon Kyun-sang as Jang Sun-kyul
- Song Jae-rim as Choi Ha-in
8. Your House Helper
A light and heartwarming K-drama based on Ktoon series "Dangshinui House Helper” by Seung Jung-Yeon. This is a simple story about the life of a diligent guy who became a professional house helper in a woman's house. While working as a housekeeper, he openly shared some great lesson and tips to the woman's fears and concern about life, love, and career. He tried his best to solve problems with her, console her, and listen to her. It is a very good lesson for us too! As their relationship drew close, they shared sweet and cute moments, and of course, the viewers find the simplest romance the most enjoyable.
- Ha Seok-jin as Kim Ji-woon
- Bona as Im Da-young
- Lee Ji-hoon as Kwon Jin-kook
- Go Won-hee as Yoon Sang-a
9. My First Love
What if you can travel back in time to find your first love? Will you still do the same things in the past, or will you change it and redo the history? In this melodramatic world, a man named Shin-woo who cannot forget his first love, accidentally travels back into his old high school days where he met his younger self and the girl he truly likes. Helping his younger self, the old Shin-woo used this chance to cherish the moments and tenderly express his true feelings for her. It also features a warm and loving relationship about family and friends. With only 10 episodes, you'll definitely wouldn't want to miss it.
- Lee Jung-shin as Kang Shin-woo (present self)
- Seo Ji-hoon as Kang Shin-woo (past self)
- Lee Yeol-eum as Han Ji-soo
10. Save Me
Sorry Army's, but it is not based from a BTS song... It is a thrilling drama from a popular Daum webtoon "Out of the World" by Jo Geum-san. This is a really intense drama that will left you in tears, sorrow, pain, and shock. With a tensed plot about how a bunch of people tried to help a girl entrapped in a series of horrifying events, this will make you feel like you're always standing on the edge, waiting for the next episode to come. Exciting, interesting, and fast-paced, it is a very different drama from the usual rom-com ones.
- Seo Ye-ji as Im Sang-min
- Ok Taec-yeon as Han Sang-hwan
- Jo Sung-ha as Baek Jung-ki
- Woo Do-hwan as Suk Dong-chul
11. Hey Ghost, Let's Fight
If you want to watch something with dark and creepy atmosphere, and focuses on the branch of fiction called horror, then this one is for you. Also known as "Bring it on, Ghost", it is inspired from Naver web series by Im In-su. With 16 exciting episodes starring Ok Taec-yeon, Kim So-hyun and Kwon Yul, it is a fantasy and mystery drama about a guy who has an ability to see ghosts. He met a high school girl who became his adventurous partner. Though it finishes with a loose ending, it's not a terrible show at all. It has the right romance and comedy in it that keeps you going through the end.
- Ok Taec-yeon as Park Bong-pal
- Kim So-hyun as Kim Hyun-ji
- Kwon Yul as Joo Hye-sung
12. The Sound of Your Heart
This South Korean TV sitcom's title is taken from Jo Seok's "The Sound of Your Heart", a popular web comic that was released on Naver Webtoon. The witty, funny and comical web series hit 100 million views and ranked first among Korean dramas on Sohu TV. Meanwhile, on Naver TV Cast, the web series has more than 40 million views in South Korea as of February 2017. Viewers enjoyed the hilarious love adventure and the slice of life family story of Jo-seok, an amateur web artist, and his future wife, Aebong. The main cast, Lee Kwang-soo and Jung So-min, won the Best Couple award during the 15th KBS Entertainment Awards.
- Lee Kwang-soo as Jo Seok
- Jung So-min as Choi Ae-bong
- Kim Dae-myung as Jo Joon (brother)
- Kim Byeong-ok as Jo Chul-wang (father)
- Kim Mi-kyung as Kwon Jung-kwon (mother)
13. W - Two Worlds
Fictional bestseller "W - Two Worlds" was adopted into a wonderful and successful drama in 2016, bearing the title of the same work. The series received praise for its unique concept, displaying the element of thrill, suspense, and romance in a sci-fi world. It also achieved high ratings for 16 episodes, topping viewership ratings in its time slot for its entire run. It became a multi-awarded show as it bagged the prestigious Outstanding Korean Drama award at the 2017 Seoul International Drama Awards. Starring two power actors, Lee Jong-suk and Han Hyo-joo, it shows how the real and fantasy world of the two main characters collide.
- Lee Jong-suk as Kang Chul
- Han Hyo-joo as Oh Yeon-joo
14. Cheese in the Trap
"Cheese in the Trap" was first serialized on Naver Webtoon, illustrated and written by Soonkki. The comic was not yet finished when the drama aired, so the drama has its own version of the ending. It was a mainstream success in South Korea and China, as it features a funny romantic drama about four university students and their difficulties in life and relationship. The main couple, Yoo Jung and Hong Seol are sunbae-hoobae in school, but their romance seemed to have gone complicated because of Jung's cold personality, while Seol is doubting his motives. It became more chaotic when Jung's childhood friends, the Baek siblings, arrived and entered into their lives.
- Park Hae-jin as Yoo Jung
- Kim Go-eun as Hong Seol
- Seo Kang-joon as Baek In-ho
- Lee Sung-kyung as Baek In-ha
15. Sweet Stranger and Me
Webtoon author Yoo Hyun-sook originally entitled this as "The Man Living in Our House". It is a 16-episode KBS series about the life of a woman named Hong Na-ri. Her mother is already dead, but she has a young husband named Go Nan-gil who suddenly decided to live in Na-ri's house. Nan-gil is 3 years younger than Na-ri, and this made her feel awkward because all of a sudden, her young stepfather who has a dark history of being a con-artist, is in the house with her. Can Na-ri handle this situation with his "strange" stepdad? How will she manage to find inner peace?
- Park Soo Ae as Hong Na-ri
- Kim Young-kwang as Go Nan-gil
- Lee Soo-hyuk as Kwon Deuk-bong
- Jo Bo-ah as Do Yeo-joo
- Kim Ji-hoon as Jo Dong-jin
16. A Girl Who Sees Smells
"A Girl Who Sees Smells" is originally a comic from KTOON by Seo Soo-kyung. A television series was made in 2015, starring Park Yoo-chun and Shin Se-kyung. It is also called "Sensory Couple" which depicts the strange ability of a girl who is able to see smells as patterns in the air. The girl decided to work with a police inspector who has a disability - he can't smell and taste. Together, they formed a team and started to solve cases while being dependent on each other's ability. It runs for 16 episodes and became one of the most influential dramas of 2015 according to Contents Power Index (CPI) rankings, despite the low ratings.
- Park Yoo-chun as Detective Choi Moo-gak
- Shin Se-kyung as Oh Cho-rim / Choi Eun-seol
- Namkoong Min as Chef Kwon Jae-hee / Jay Kwon Ford
- Yoon Jin-seo as Yeom Mi
17. Orange Marmalade
This 2015 fantasy teen drama is from the Naver Webtoon, "Orange Marmalade" by author Seok Woo. It is a school drama that is set in a world where vampires exist, and they are living with the humans. A girl named Baek Ma-ri is hiding her identity as a vampire while attending school. There she meets the most popular and most handsome student, Jung Jae-min. They had an awkward first encounter when Ma-ri is attracted to Jae-min's scent, and later on they learned that they attend the same school. As they continue to see each other, they started falling in love, and so their love story begins. But until when will Ma-ri hide her true nature as a vampire? Will Jae-min still love her once he learn about the truth?
- Yeo Jin-goo as Jung Jae-min
- Kim Seolhyun as Baek Ma-ri
- Lee Jong-hyun as Han Si-hoo
- Gil Eun-hye as Jo Ah-ra
From Yoon Tae-ho's original webcomic series, "Misaeng: Incomplete Life" is a 2014 workplace drama which inspired the viewers for its realistic and easy-to-relate story. The webtoon itself is a huge success on Daum, as it drew 1 billion hits and is now considered a must-read comic in Korea. The drama adaptation too has became a cultural phenomenon with its 20 episodes, and recorded high viewership ratings for a cable network channel, tvN. It garnered several awards and praises for its production, saying that the audiences enjoyed it as if the online sketches were brought to life according to their expectations.
- Im Si-wan as Jang Geu-rae
- Lee Sung-min as Oh Sang-shik
- Kang So-ra as Ahn Young-yi
- Kang Ha-neul as Jang Baek-gi
- Byun Yo-han as Han Seok-yool
- Kim Dae-myung as Kim Dong-shik
- Shin Eun-jung as Sun Ji-young
- Park Hae-joon as Chun Kwan-woong
19. Flower Boy Next Door
"Flower Boy Next Door", which is also popular as "My Cute Guys", is adapted from Yoo Hyun-sook's webtoon titled "I Steal Peeks At Him Every Day". It is a 2013 drama with 16 episodes starring Park Shin-hye as Go Dok-mi, an introvert writer, and her encounter with an extroverted game developer genius, Enrique Geum (played by Yoon Shi-yoon). At first, they are awkward towards each other, but later on, their weird relationship develops that makes Dok-mi open her door to the outside world. Though they have a completely opposite personality, they came to share some time together. Things get more interesting as a rookie webtoon artist who lives near Dok-mi's apartment became attracted to her.
- Park Shin-hye as Go Dok-mi
- Yoon Shi-yoon as Enrique Geum
- Kim Ji-hoon as Oh Jin-rak
20. Mary Stayed Out All Night
Inspired from Kakao webtoon of the same name by Won Soo-yeon, this adaptation became popular overseas despite low ratings in South Korea. Because this series was a huge hit in Japan, lead actors Jang Geun-suk and Moon Geun-young held fan meetings in Tokyo and Osaka. This romantic comedy is also known as "Mary Me, Mary!" which is about a young woman who found herself in trouble of getting married to escape from poverty. Her father arranged a forged marriage with a son of a rich family, but she is now in good terms with a talented musician. Will she follow her father's wishes, whom she dearly love, or will she follow the desire of her heart and choose the man he likes? With this, a love triangle between them begins.
- Moon Geun-young as Wi Mae-ri
- Jang Keun-suk as Kang Mu-gyul
- Kim Jae-wook as Byun Jung-in
- Kim Hyo-jin as Seo-joon
© 2019 Mare-sensei